SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ quarterbacks seem to have more of a voice this summer during the first training camp with the new coaching staff.
Colin Kaepernick last week expressed pleasure with the way the 49ers’ were practicing with offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan.
In the past, coach Jim Harbaugh would give the play call during practices to the entire offensive huddle. The only time the quarterbacks would have to speak was going through the check and cadence at the line of scrimmage.
Of course, that’s not the way it happens in a game. This summer, the 49ers’ coaching staff is practicing the mechanics of play calls as they occur in games. Logan is always situated on the sideline, where he radios the play into the quarterbacks’ ear piece.
On Sunday, the 49ers took it a step further. Chryst, who will be stationed in the coaches booth, radioed the play to Logan, who directed it to the quarterbacks. It is against NFL rules for coaches stationed upstairs to have direct communication with players who are in the huddle.
“The process that you go through in a game from getting the plays from the press box, to a coach on the field, and the coach on the field relaying that in your head set, the more you can practice that, the more smoothly that process is going to go on game day,” 49ers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert said on Tuesday.
“So whenever the quarterback is in the huddle and we’re getting it buzzed in from either coach Logan, or Geep to coach Logan, and then to us, it helps out a lot. The players in the huddle hear one voice, and that’s the quarterback’s voice.”
Kaepernick last week intimated that relaying the play call to his teammates in the huddle will help him establish his voice and leadership to carry over into games.
“That’s the way it should be,” Gabbert said. “It’s the quarterback’s huddle, and that’s the only voice that should be heard, so you don’t have any communication errors breaking the huddle because time is of the essence, and you want to get to the ball, get lined up in the correct formation as soon as possible.”
During practice on Sunday, Chryst typically completed the play call to Logan with about 35 seconds left on the 40-second play clock. Logan finished his call to the quarterbacks at around 30 seconds. After the quarterback relayed the call to the other 10 players on offense, the 49ers broke the huddle with about 23 seconds remaining.
Gabbert made no comparison to how the 49ers’ offense ran last year under Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, but he said the 49ers’ new offensive coordinator “likes to see the game through the quarterback’s eyes.” Chryst was the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach the past four seasons.
“It’s fun to go into meetings with those guys because they value the input that we have on a specific play, whether it be a run or a pass,” Gabbert said. “They want to know what we see and what our mindset is throughout that play.”
Gabbert said he believes that’s where he’s seen the biggest improvement in Kaepernick.
“He’s just more and more comfortable,” Gabbert said. “Everybody is going to talk about throwing and this, I think the thing I’ve seen is he’s more comfortable in this offense. Geep and coach Logan have done a great job of helping the quarterbacks out, asking for our input.
“That’s helped us out tremendously as a group. The more comfortable the quarterbacks get, I’d say the better our offense is going to be.”